Entrepreneur’s Diary #3 – The USP – Example Number 3: Siemens AG

AmZiel1Siemens AG is probably the best known enterprise with German origin. It has been hugely relevant in our national economy for many years. Like many of my friends, I, too, used to work at Siemens for several years, first as working student and later as a regular employee.

Some rules learned at Siemens have served me well when I started organizing the InterFace Connection GmbH (today it is called InterFace AG). In a way, I still feel a little like I am a  “Siemensianer” (which is short for Siemens-Indianer). That is why I have often asked myself what is or might be the USP of Siemens AG.

What is the USP of Siemens AG?

I find it hard to identify the USP of the enterprise Siemens today. The new line sounds a lot like “environmental technology”. Yet, I am not yet quite sure, which is why I will discuss the past:

What was the USP of Siemens AG?

First and foremost, what comes to mind is “electricity”. Yes, I believe it was a good USP of Siemens AG that they were unique when it came to “everything that had to do with electricity”. That was really wonderful and quite simple.

Then there is a second USP I can think of. In all parts of the world where I travelled and talked to the locals who could afford to view the world a little globally, Siemens was referred to as the number one “German Enterprise”.

ImbissZeltplatzAnd in almost every country that is a huge trust in advance. For the people I talked to, German is synonymous with high engineering standards. Typical German virtues such as thoroughness and discipline are appreciated around the world. “Made in Germany” is symbolic for reliable and durable products of high quality.

We Germans are perceived as fair merchants and business partners. And there is also another quality attributed to us Germans: we are real experts when it comes to being well-organized and applying sensible economical principles!

For the people I talked to, Siemens is the most German of all German firms (in a positive sense). All the aforementioned qualities were (and partly still are) mentally assigned to Siemens around the world.

Siemens therefore had a double USP: “everything related to electricity” and “the firm with the German super-qualities”

AmZiel2My personal experience of Siemens concurs with this. We often wondered about the competition, be it AEG, Telefunken or Standard Lorenz. These enterprises, too, have some very nice technologies and solutions. However, they often lacked sustainability and integrity when it came to business – which caused them to spiral downwards.

Yes, Siemens definitely has a great USP. That did not happen overnight. Rather, it was earned by hard work over more than a hundred years: the modern source of energy “electricity” and all the German virtues. As director of a medium-sized company, I can only dream of such a USP.
I am not sure if the great concern knows about its USP, let alone appreciates it. If you have such a wonderful USP, you should nourish it, rather than carelessly jeopardize it. Statements such as “Siemens has too many and too German engineers (and too few salespeople)” are counterproductive. And celebrating a big “diversity day” with a festival does not make you any more global, either.

I, however, am left with having to continue looking for our USP. Next time I will write about a medium-sized enterprise in the metal industry situated in Baden-Württemberg. I know it quite well. Yes, and then I will try my luck with InterFace. After that, I will turn to the topic “elevator speech”. Talking about serious things…

(Translated by EG)

As you can see on the pictures I just took, we have now reached our destiny. The wigwam has been built; the first snack has been eaten on the ground before the tent.
I just hope that my working morals will not suffer under all this sun, ocean, Greek food, swimming, cycling, wine… – good intentions notwithstanding.

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